If you have been trying to get a full-time IT position and have found few opportunities one option to try is contract work. Right now contract work may be your best option for landing a full-time position.
A recent survey of CIOs across the United States revealed that nearly 73 percent think it is beneficial to bring in prospective employees on a contract basis before hiring them in full-time positions.
With IT departments still holding to tight budgets their full-time head counts are not increasing very much. As a cost cutting measure many companies are choosing to bring in temporary contract workers to fill positions. By taking one of these positions you can get your foot in the door and show them what you can do.
Tips For Getting Contract Jobs
For contract workers your resume is your business card. This is what sells you to a potential employer so you should polish your resume to be a professional representation of your qualifications. Here are some resume tips for a contract workers.
- One way a contract resume differs from one you would use to apply for a full-time position is the objectives. Instead of telling the potential employer what you want, tell them what you can offer them. Highlight your best related skills in a summary near the top of the resume.
- List your work history in reverse chronological order. Keep them to 3-5 sentences and highlight your achievements. List all of your education, certifications, or other training that is relevant.
- Many agencies and now even potential employers use resume scanners so they can easily put your resume into their database. For this reason make your resume scanner friendly. Use white paper with black ink, do not use fancy fonts, avoid using boxes or other formatting that will make the resume difficult to scan. You will also want to have a plain soft copy of your resume that you can easily copy and paste in online forms.
An interview for a contract position is no different than one for a full-time position. Many of the questions are the same and the hiring manager is looking for the same thing. The right person, with the right skills to fill an opening. Here are a few tips for interviewing for a contract position.
- Never state that you are only looking to get your foot in the door or that you are just applying for this position on hopes of getting a full-time position in the organization. Even if it is the truth do not say so. The hiring manager wants to fill their position for as long as needed, not bring someone in so they can start networking their way into the organization.
- Treat the position you are applying for as if it were a full-time position. It may be only temporary contract work, but you must show enthusiasm about the position. When the position is fully explained to you tell the hiring manager what skills you have that make you a good choice. Highlight your good attendance record and being quick to learn new tasks.
- Don’t hound the hiring manager with follow-ups, instead follow-up with your agency.
Once You Are Hired
Once you are hired for a temporary contract position you need to apply yourself 110% to the job you are given. As a contract worker if you are not living up to expectations it is very easy for the manager to contact HR and tell them to find a replacement. If you are looking to become a full-time employee here are some tips.
- Daily attendance and being on-time for work are very important. Every manager needs to know you can be counted on to be there when needed.
- Make sure you know what the manager’s expectations of you are so you can meet or exceed them. Take time to learn how to do the job right first and then kick it into high gear. If you complete your tasks ask if there is something else you can do. You want to show you can handle the job and can contribute more.
- Build good working relationships with your team members or others you work with. Showing you have good communications and inter-personal skills is important. Most of what IT does is team oriented and you need to show you can get along and be a team player.
- Be patient and realistic. Even though you may be the best contract worker that has ever worked for the organization, if there is no open position you will not be hired. You came aboard as a temporary contract worker and it could work out that no position opens up before your services are no longer required.
- If your services are no longer required ask the manager or supervisor for a letter of recommendation. You will then have a positive review to show your next potential employer.
The Benefits of Contract Work
Contract work does have down sides. No job security, lower rate of pay and no benefits can be obstacles. However contract work does offer benefits if you are currently unemployed.
- You have a job and are making money. When you have no job any job is a good job. Even if you continue to look elsewhere for a full-time position, being currently employed is an asset.
- You are keeping job gaps out of your resume. For HR and a hiring manager job gaps are red flags. A contract worker is able to eliminate those gaps with a consistent work history.
- As a contract worker you can add new skills, learn how to use new technologies and pad your resume with more qualifications. All of these will make you a better candidate the next time you apply for a full-time position.
In tough times like we are in now it is harder to find full-time positions. Even in good times many employers like to bring on potential new hires as contract workers to see if the person is a good fit for the job.
Contract work has down sides, but it has more up sides when you currently have no job. You can continue to pursue a full-time position, but in the meantime you are working, earning a paycheck and adding to your resume. Plus you have the potential to become a full-time employee with the organization you are contracted to.
If you want a position in the IT industry seek out an agency that specializes in filling IT contract positions. They will have the connections with potential employers. Once your are onboard show them your best. Personally my last four full-time hires were contract workers who showed they could do the job and be productive and dependable members of my team.